It’s exhausting work . . .
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Dogs
One of the neighbor ladies is over talking to my wife while Lightning and I entertain two of her three daughters, ages 3 and 7.
“I want a dog like Lightning,” the 7-year-old says. “We just have boring fish.”
“What does your mom say about that?” I ask.
“She says having a dog is a lot of work.”
“It is a lot of work.”
“She says the three of us are enough work already.”
People keep asking me, “Lightning, are you ready for the Big Game?” OF COURSE I’M READY FOR THE BIG GAME! Look at me … how could I be any more ready than I already am?!
P.S. Wake me up if there are any pug commercials this year.
Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning! My owner bought each of us a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A. He’s a fast eater but I ate my whole sandwich before he was even half way done with his!
I’m very old now. I can hardly see, hear or walk. But my eating ability has not dropped off AT ALL!
I was yelling this morning and I scared the dog. I wasn’t angry at him or at anyone in the house, I was angry about a whole life insurance scam we got in the mail. (That’s redundant, isn’t it? “Whole life insurance scam”?)
Anyway, the dog got scared and crawled under the bed. His joints, especially in his back legs, are not too good anymore and once he got under the bed, he couldn’t get back out. I had to crawl under there myself, roll him on his side, which he didn’t like, and then slide him out.
That’s in case you’re wondering why I showed up late for work this morning looking like I just crawled out from under a bed . . .
Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!
I’m seeing a person named Robin Williams on TV a lot. He always seems excited and happy, like a puppy! It’s scaring people that he ended his own life.
Dogs never end their own life, no matter what. You might think we couldn’t do that but we could run in front of a car or jump off a balcony, just to name a couple of things.
I wonder if Robin Williams had a dog . . .
My owner and I are getting old together. We can’t run like we used to, or see very well or hear very well. He’s sad about it sometimes but I think it helps people to see dogs trying our best in every situation. Everything is temporary.
When I go to Starbucks on weekends I always get a pup cup — a short cup of whipped cream — for Lightning. No one ever asks me about it . . . I just place my own order, ask for a short cup of whipped cream, they write “Paul” on both cups and serve them up.
Today the Starbucks girl was puzzled. “You want a short cup of whipped cream?” she asked.
“A short cup of whipped cream, right.”
She still had a puzzled look on her face. Maybe she thought what I really wanted was cream.
“It’s for my dog,” I said.
“Your dog likes whipped cream?”
“He loves it.”
“What’s your dog’s name?”
“Right. Like thunder and lightning.”
So this morning, after years of eating pup cups with someone else’s name on them, Lightning got his own personalized pup cup.
Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!
My owner read me a story by Isaac Babel:
And Mimka arrived too, curled up on the sofa and fell asleep at once. She was a terrible sleepy-head, but a wonderful dog, good-hearted, sensible, small and pretty. Mimka was a pug-dog. Her coat was light in colour. Even in old age she never grew fat or flabby, never put on weight, but remained shapely and slender. She lived with us a long time, from birth to death, the whole of her fifteen years’ doggy life, and loved us — quite plainly, and most of all Grandmother, who was stern and without mercy to anyone. What friends they were, silent and secretive, I shall tell another time. It is a very good, touching and tender story.
Actually that was only part of the story but the rest was kind of boring and I don’t really remember it.
Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.
I can hear a woman weeping loudly from back in the hospital area.
“That doesn’t sound good,” I say.
“A husky attacked her dog at the dog park,” Lauren says. “A little Yorkie. Broke its neck.”
“That’s awful.” I don’t even have the heart to ask her if she cut the pills on the lines.
Yes! Especially if you’re a dog!
Ordinarily, I’m very loving but I don’t put up with a lot of nonsense!
I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet . . . the new girl, Lauren, is at the desk.
“It’s a little different this time,” Lauren says. “We didn’t have the Prednisone 5mg, so we’re giving you Prednisone 10mg, and instead of giving him half a tablet, you’ll give him a quarter of a tablet. I already cut them.”
“Oh gosh, thanks! Did you cut them on the lines?” Lauren is new so she hasn’t heard this one yet.
“To the best of my ability.”
“That’s good. Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.”
She’s not getting the joke but that’s okay. I’ll help her out by taking it completely into the realm of the absurd.
“He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail,” I say.
“I’ll make a note of that for next time.”
“Yes, you should do that. Go ahead and write it on his chart.”
Pet owners — I know this from spending a lot of time at dog parks — are likely to attribute all sorts of human thoughts and emotions to their animals, so I guess if you work in a veterinary clinic, you can’t assume that customers are joking just because what they’re saying is totally irrational . . .
My wife is preparing to give the dog a bath in the kitchen sink . . .
I say, “Lightning says be sure to warm up the water before you start spraying him with it.”
“I always do that.”
“He says that in his experience, the water is sometimes too cold . . . I’m just telling you what he said. Don’t shoot the messenger.”
I dropped Lightning off at the vet for grooming . . .
“Make it like a spa day for him,” I said. “With lots of pampering. Don’t just put him in the sink and soak him down like we do at home. Make it free pampering though, nothing that will cause extra charges to accrue. By the way, where’s Erica?”
Erica is usually at the desk on weekends but today there was a new girl. The new girl, Lauren, said that Erica is moving to Arizona and won’t be working there anymore.
“She will be greatly missed,” Lauren said.
She sure will. People are insane when it comes to their pets and Erica was always extremely patient and attentive — extremely.
I wish I had the kind of personality that makes people miss me when I go away but oh well . . . I guess I have other qualities. Everyone’s different.
Later, when I picked Lightning up, they’d put a bow around his neck, which is a new thing. Usually they don’t decorate the dog.
“Oh that’s nice,” I said. “Is there an extra charge for that?”
“Yeah,” said Lauren, “it’s 50 dollars.”
I miss Erica . . .
I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet. He takes 5mg/day of a steroid for his joints, half a tablet in the morning and half at night.
The tablets are scored to make them easier to cut in half, but the vet staff uses a pill cutter, making cutting on the scoring actually a little more difficult because you have to line up each pill.
It’s better to cut them on the scoring, because the pills are small and they can crumble if they’re cut across the scoring, but it’s more time-consuming.
“Are the pills cut on the lines?” I ask the woman at the desk. “Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.”
“He doesn’t like it?” she says.
“He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail.”
Some of the women at our vet’s office have a sense of humor and some don’t. Today we have one of the serious ones.
“I’m just telling you,” I say. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking kills about 1 in 5 people in the United States.
Is that bad? If so, why? You’ve got to die somehow. Would it be better if those people died from some other cause? How would you prefer to see them die?
Also: Some percentage of Americans would rather be dead than alive anyway. I don’t know what that number is, but I’d bet it’s higher than 1 in 5.
(If you Google “percentage of people who would rather be dead,” the top results all point to a 2008 survey in which 52 percent of respondents said they would rather be dead than disabled.
If you change the search to “percentage of people who would rather be dead than alive,” you get a mishmash of links, including a few more links to the “dead vs. disabled” survey, but you still don’t get the number you’re looking for. Phoning up random Americans and asking if they’d rather be dead is evidently not considered an appropriate thing to do, although it seems like a highly relevant question to me.
Slight digression: I also found a survey in which people were given the option of saving either their pet dog or a foreign tourist from in front of an onrushing bus. Forty percent chose the dog, which seems low to me.)
Anyway, the American Cancer Society goes on to say:
About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.
Where does that number — 443,000 — come from? The problem with throwing out numbers on smoking deaths is that there’s no way to know that any given smoker died because of smoking.
If a smoker dies from lung cancer, is that automatically counted as a smoking-related death? There’s no way you can know that. Because non-smokers get lung cancer too. Not as often as smokers, but they get it.
You can look at a lot of cases collectively and say that smoking is associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. You could even say that smoking causes lung cancer. But for any given person, you can’t say that this person’s lung cancer was caused by smoking and if he didn’t smoke, he would not have died of lung cancer.
Same thing with other diseases — if a smoker dies of heart disease or a stroke, is that because of smoking? There’s no way you can know that.
The second problem with the numbers is that if smoking kills 1 person in 5 (20 percent), and half of all smokers die because of smoking, then you’d have about 40 percent of Americans as smokers. That’s too high. According to the CDC, 19 percent of U.S. adults are smokers (as of 2011).
Why not keep it real, skip the bogus numbers and say, “Smoking helps some people get through the day. It revs them up or it calms them down or I don’t know what it does, but it helps them get through the day. That being said, there are other ways to get through the day, and setting a vegetable product on fire and inhaling the smoke into your lungs is clearly not the most healthful thing you can do.”
Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!
What does a dog know about marriage is what you are probably asking yourself. Well, I know about lighthearted enjoyment of life and overcoming negativity, and negativity is a big problem in human relationships. That is what I see.
So here are my tips:
- Be positive and not negative. Remove all negativity. I have done this every day now for 10 years. You should start out and try for at least 30 days in a row.
- Show your partner every day that you love them and appreciate them.
- If your partner says or does something that you don’t understand, be curious about it and not judgmental.
- Make your partner feel completely safe around you.
- Have fun together.
- Be a predictable source of pleasure.